1. My poem "Similes" has been accepted by Not One of Us. It is one of the few poems I've written about being happy. Next up, I insist on this, trees.
2. I am in the wrong country this month. Have some assorted articles about Derek Jarman. Dammit.
3. The original cast recording of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is out on CD this month. I want that.
4. After nine years, the Wikipedia entry for derspatchel's mildly surrealist interactive fiction Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die has been deleted. Which sucks on general principle, and Rob is being classy about it, but I am personally side-eyeing one of the reasons given: "Text adventures were already an obscure hobby by the mid 90's following FTL's release of Dungeon Master in 1989." Any archive that uses obscurity as its first reason for exclusion or removal seems to be failing the definition as far as I'm concerned.
5. I finished Ben Aaronovitch's Broken Homes (2013). It's spoilers from here on.
( And, having made sure everyone was paying attention to the front, Nightingale walked in through the back door.Collapse )
DooWee & Rice no longer exists, but the Teriyaki House that sprang up in its stead is serving Duy Tran's menu until the end of the week. Going by the takeout menu I got this afternoon, their regular lineup also seems to have incorporated some of his dishes, like the chicken (or steak) and rice, the crispy chicken hearts, and the several different flavors of bao, but the full former range is available through Friday, meaning among other things many different flavors of bao. I can attest to the kind made with Dominican longaniza. Lime habanero needs to happen before it's gone for good.
- Current Music:Agnes Obel, "Riverside"
Nevertheless. I feel very tempted to post another picture. He is totally torn between lying dozy in the sunshine and staring fixedly at the fluttering inaccessible birdies. (I have opened the window, to make his torment all the more.)
In the grocery store, I was delighted to overhear myself think: "Trouble is, that's far too many chicken thighs - oh, but wait! Freezer! I can cook half and freeze the rest! Have my cake and eat it!"
So, in the spirit of new virtue, half my chicken thighs have been bagged and labelled and dated - and as soon as Mac gets off the bloody freezer, I can put them in it...
Tonight's yogi dinner is a chicken biryani. In the recipe I am more-or-less sort of following, it says "Saute the onion/garlic/ginger paste until golden brown." Thing is, I chucked a couple of serrano chillies in there, because hullo, still me; which meant the paste started out a lovely pale green. It is now not so much golden-brown as khaki.
Today's video comes from Feminist Frequency: The Ms. Male Character.
The Three Most Damaging Words You Can Tell Your Son. Traditional gender norms are destructive to men and boys too. Dave Barry learns everything you need to know about being a husband from reading 50 Shades of Gray. This is funny, however there's a problem with it. It's mocking women's sexuality. (Not that I've ever read that book. I don't think I will.) I've a question. Does anyone question whether or not Debbie Does Dallas was a film masterpiece? (It was a bestseller.) So why are we having this conversation about 50 Shades? MakeMeASammich.org nails it again with yet another article about Trigger Warnings: It's About Empathy and Choice. Two Pulitzer-winning reporters tell their story. On XOJane, the Duke Porn Star reveals her identity. (aka--All About Slut Shaming and You.) From MakeMeASammich.org If you're arguing with me, chances are you're a dude. What Dress Codes Say About Girls' Bodies? Passenger's sexist note left on WestJet flight.
In the past, I read a lot of True Crime. My reasons why have to do with my childhood relationship with monsters and my hunt for the ever-elusive 'silver bullet.' I've since quit reading True Crime for ethical reasons. I also read a lot of Crime Fiction which edges (maybe even overlaps) on Noir. Sadly, none of these genres have anything healthy to say about women. As a Feminist, I'm aware of that. I'm also aware that not every story needs to say something healthy about women any more than every story needs to say something healthy about men. The problem we currently face is that a MAJORITY of stories say something unhealthy about women (and other minorities) if they're mentioned at all. We're not dealing with an even playing field here. This is why there's push back, and this is why there should be push back. With that out of the way...
Anyway, I had some thoughts about True Detective.
One of the things I loved about it is one of the things that creates some flaws. It's also how I write, myself. So, I've my own perspective on it. This series falls under the "dark, gritty, and realistic with fantastic overtones" category. Again, that's my favorite. The reason why is because I enjoy stories that question reality. What parts are real? What parts are imagined? It all ties into pattern recognition and how the human brain works. We're hard-wired to see patterns--even patterns where there are no patterns. It's deep in the science of perception. (I've said this many times before.) What we think we see and what we actually see are two different things. We're hit with far too much information via our senses to process it quickly enough to act. If we waited to sort through all that data, we'd never get out of bed. Thus, our brains take short cuts. We base decisions upon previous experiences, or cues that resemble previous cues. We sort through a vast amount of data for the bits that are important. Sometimes we miss the important stuff and walk into a wall, but more often than not we guess correctly--well, correct enough to avoid getting hurt. Whether or not its the correct picture of reality is a whole other animal. That's how people acquire engrained behaviors that might save their lives in a given situation but repeated long-term, that life-saving behavior might be unhealthy bordering on abuse. This is the stuff of the psychotherapists' couch. True story.
So, True Detective. At the beginning it's established that Detective Rust Cohle (played by Matthew McConaughey) sees things that aren't there. This is important to remember. It's easy to loose track of because Rust is the only character with a grip on what's happening. He's the first character that correctly spots and interprets the killer's pattern. It isn't until later that his partner, Detective Marty Hart (and the viewer with him,) signs on with Rust's view of events. But again, we're accepting the point of view of a character who's hold on reality is just a bit off as fact. If you ask me, that's a big factor in this story. Oh, sure. He's reliable enough to be a police officer, but in the trailer Detective Hart (played by Woody Harrelson) tells us he's the reliable one, the steady one. Rust is the smart one. Rust is always philosophizing about this or that. His head is always in the clouds. He's always analyzing things--even overly so. Marty is constantly telling him to shut up. He doesn't want to hear about how we're all just sentient meat and life has no meaning. (Another hint at what's really going on.) Marty wants nothing to do with that. Marty wants to catch the bad guy. He doesn't care why the bad guy is bad. He doesn't want to know what the bad guy is thinking. He just wants to stop the bad guy. Rust, on the other hand, leads the investigation because his brain recognizes patterns that Marty's can't. Over and over, Rust happens to be right. As we come to accept Rust's altered interpretation of the real situation (a serial killer on the loose) more and more, the plot takes on a fantastic quality. The fact that the killer (who we don't see) seems to be very intelligent and very well connected and has escaped previously due to these two factors, gives the killer another layer of power--the power of mystery. That elevates the bad guy in the viewer's mind. It sets a certain expectation.
But what if Cohle is wrong? What if the bad guy is only a dumbass who has read a lot of freaky books--the same freaky books that Cohle has read? Personally, I love the idea that more meaning may have been assigned to the bad guy's actions than was actually there. The story as I see it, is about humanity's sketchy relationship with patterns. What is it that Nietzsche said? Something about gazing too long into an abyss and soon enough the abyss gazes into you? I love the idea that part of what the viewer thinks is the bad guy is what Cohle has put into him. In the end, the bad guy is only himself and a lesser being--not the magical powerful thing that Cohle fashioned him into. I love the idea of investigators walking that tight-rope between reality and the meanings they assign to the patterns they discover and always wondering what's real (and will solve the case) and what isn't (and will become a dead end.) I also like the idea of the mysterious bad guy (once vanquished) not quite matching the image created for him. This is reality. Think about the times when you've achieve a hard fought goal. Don't you usually come out of it feeling "is this all?"
Jeff VanderMeer and I had a short talk about this. He hates the ending of the series. I adored it. But it got me thinking. What happens when you set a story in a realistic world that touches the borders of unreality? If you're not careful, you lose the cohesion of reality. Thus, the author has to work twice as hard to keep things real. Unfortunately, this sets up a certain expectation in some readers/viewers that the end of the story will be (somehow) the ultimate answer to whether or not reality is unreality. Honestly, there's no good answer to that question, and after working with fiction that borders on reality for a while now... I'm of the opinion that you can't answer the question. Because if you absolutely answer "reality is reality and the supernatural elements are all in the character's mind" then reality loses its magic. If you answer "reality is the supernatural" then reality loses its reality and the whole thing flattens out into just another fairy tale. So, I've reached the conclusion that the best answer (as a writer) is the open-ended one. The one the reader arrives at for themselves. Unfortunately, there are readers who aren't happy with that. (See Inception.) Me? I like it just fine. Either way, True Detective is a great show in that its causing these discussions. I much prefer that to simplistic answers.
 It began to feel as though the process of trying to understand the 'why' the genre was evolving into tawdry sensationalism and thus, benefitting the monsters more than the victims. I'm not a fan of that mindset.
I am a product of my upbringing. I have been conditioned my entire life to be a good, friendly girl who smiles and does as she is told. It’s rude to say no, it’s rude not to smile, so I have endured being used and put down with a smile.
I wasn’t shy as a child. My flustered smiling is a learned habit. Speaking up when a bully said something mean got me in trouble. Speaking up when someone made me uncomfortable was rude. Speaking up when men commented on my looks got me in even more trouble. There have been many times in my life where I wished I was invisible. But I am tall, blonde and busty, and many people seem to want things from me.
Until my late twenties, I was that good girl the world told me I should be. I thought that if I would just try to fit into that box, life would sort itself out. If I just changed myself, ignored the parts that didn’t fit, the mold would become comfortable at some point, and I’d be a happy mommy like everyone wanted me to be. Then I woke up and realized how unhappy I was.
In the past years, many people have helped me realize that life is a journey of self-discovery. That I have something to teach and inspire in others. That I have a right to feel what I feel, to think in my own way. I feel liberated, as if the mold has broken and fallen off.
So here I am, naked in the sunlight for the first time. Without the mold, I’m not quite sure what shape I am. But I’m curious to find out.
As we know, retail here is king. I went out looking for a birthday present for m'wife, and came home with an anniversary present for m'self. Traditionally leather is for the third year, but hey: I am now in possession of a new purse (which you might possibly call a wallet). It's green, so m'lady should be pleased; and it has almost all the pockets a man could wish for. Almost. What is it about pockets...?
In less enchanting adventure, I lost my Fitbit again. And found it again, yay me, on the floor in Macy's - but I'd been halfway home before I realised it was missing. I hate how crap the clasp is, on such a cool piece of tech.
Meanwhile I am still loving the dickens out of my new freezer. It has capacity! Also, two temperature zones, deep freeze and not-so-much: I am half inclined to buy a freezer thermometer, just so's I know what temps we're actually operating at. Mmm, retail. What is it about spending money...?
Meanmeanwhile, taxes. Ever a joy, and a splendid anniversary commitment.
*For some reason, after all these years of heedless accuracy, I have started wanting to type stayed as staid. Any minute now, I anticipate that played will come out as plaid, and we will all be lost.
Tonight I'm going to cut it out and then restart.
It is done.
Final wordcount is a little over 106,000 words.
Have some Florence and the Machine to celebrate.
- Current Mood: anxious
- Current Music:Shriekback - Everything's On Fire
...because the good news is, there isn't much to update.
Trust me, when it comes to medical stuff and kids, it is BORING that you want, and we have been deeply grateful to be in the land of boring for the past couple of weeks.
Caitlin has been healing up nicely. She had a follow up appointment with her surgeon at the end of February, where he noted that he was really pleased with how good everything looked.
She's off of her pain medications. She has begun to roll to her side when lying down under her own power. We're still working on getting her to keep stretching and using her legs. She is slowly building up her stamina for sitting up, both in her chair and, say, on the couch. We were able to solve the barfing problem with a new medication that limits her secretions, which means that her breathing has been getting better.
She has made it through the ENTIRE SERIES of Full House, which she enjoyed very much. (Her dad, not so much.) She's also watching a ton of other stuff, including Cosmos last night.
This is the period where we just slowly wait for bone to grow. We're working on getting her wheelchair adjusted for her new back, which is one of the last steps before she can go back to school, possibly some time in April maybe? We're playing it by ear, but we are very happy with her current progress. Michael has been doing an amazing job caregiving for her, and I've been back at work and getting back into the swing of things, spelling him as I can on nights and weekends. We make a great team.
So far, so good.
We are deeply grateful for everyone who has visited, brought us food, sent Cait notes and gifts and silly pictures and all manner of things. Your support has meant the world to us.
The snow is beginning to melt. Now we look forward to spring.
So, before I left for NY, I revealed the cover for Prudence.
|Sales Conference in NY presenting said cover|
This generated gratifying excitement and no few questions around the social medias. Here I answer six of the more pressing...
- Does the (really soon!) release date [March 17, 2015] affect the release of the last Finishing School book? No. Which means I have two books out in 2015, one Spring and one Fall. And because there seems to be no little confusion on this matter, there are TWO MORE Finishing School books. Two. 2 Tooooooo. Waistcoats & Weaponry this year, and Manners & Mutiny in 2015 along with Prudence.
- When will Prudence be available for pre-order? I don't know. We don't yet have the cover blurb so it has to wait on that. I will do a full blog post on the subject when I have this information.
- How may books will this series be? I am under contract for two, I'd like to write more but, frankly, it will depend on how well/badly the first one sells.
- Why Custard Protocol and not something more alliterative? That's too long and too boring a story. In the end, I like the word protocol and I like eating custard. P.S. Finishing School wasn't alliterative.
- Out of curiosity, while I appreciate the need for different series names, is there a standard name for the 'universe' that these books take place in? No, but there should be. I keep thinking that myself, and then getting distracted by other things. How about Tealand? Gail's World? Jay suggested Akeldamaverse on Facebook. I am open to suggestions.
- Was the intention with the pink coloring to match Soulless [and Etiquette & Espionage]? Or is it just a happy accident? Very little, with cover art, is not done with intent. Since I am in house (my two publishers Orbit and Little Brown Young Readers share a building and an umbrella company, Hachette) my cover designers are often plotting for the pinker good.
GAIL'S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
|From my personal collection|
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
|Tea with LBYR in NY, aren't the cups adorable?|
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
|Kenneth Cobonpue's rickshaw for a modern passenger.|
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
PROJECT ROUND UP
Curtsies & Conspiracies ~ The Finishing School Book the Second. Out now!
Soulless Vol. 3 (AKA Blameless the manga) ~ Out now!
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Working rough draft.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Delayed. Why? Rewrite begins soon.
Fantasy Literature says of Etiquette & Espionage, “A steampunk/paranormal blend that’s targeted to young adults but will be enjoyed by adults as well.”
Quote of the Day:
“Why do boys say someone acts like a girl as if it were an insult?”
~ Tamora Pierce, In the Hand of the Goddess